In the incredibly hypothetical situation that I were trapped on a deserted tropical island with only three things of my choosing, I would select to bring an operational satellite phone, a PDA, and a portable desalinization machine complete with solar-powered generator. With these three items, I could easily stave off death and at least extreme delirium for a few years or so.
The satellite phone would be used only as a means of reaching the rest of the world. Clearly, if I were trapped on this island it would be unfair to bring a tool which would instantly relieve me of my position. For this reason, I’d use this phone to dial 1-900 numbers for entertainment, prank call random countries, and make collect calls to family and friends. I could also use it to harass telemarketers and check the time around the world.
The PDA I would bring would, of course, need to be a Pocket PC. Having a fully-loaded PPC (with a memory card) would afford me access to numerous games, thousands of songs, ebooks, videos, a voice recorder, and a word processor for jotting down my thoughts. The videos and games could certainly get old fast – after all, even a Gameboy emulator can’t compete with the conveniences of modern computer and console games – but the MP3s would probably remain interesting for years. I could re-read the classics in electronic form and write essays about life (despite the unnecessity* of these actions, given my almost assured premature demise). It would have a digitized version of the Bible on it as well. The battery of this device could be charged using the generator included with my…
Portable desalinization machine! What better way to get fresh water easily than utilize the surrounding seawater? It wouldn’t need to make a large quantity of fresh water, but it would need to be able to do so continuously for many years (preferably with no need for maintenance, because I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to fix something like this if it broke down). A smaller version of this machine would do nicely. To avoid having four items with me on the island instead of the allotted three, it would need to be powered by an attached series of photovoltaic cells with a method of retaining energy. I’d be drinking like a king, and I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for me to lighten up and eat a fish or two. The outcome would be a situation that isn’t much worse off than my envisioned kitchen island – splendid isolation, just like Michael Jackson in Disneyland.**
* Can you believe this isn’t a word? I’m as pissed as you are! I demand a straight antonym of the noun “necessity,” and this fits the bill (as does “unnecessariness”).
** See Splendid Isolation, written by Warren Zevon (played by Pete Yorn).